SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Creating as much energy as you use, that’s the goal of a net-zero home. Some Utah homeowners have achieved it, but never before has a home builder set out to build it, until now. On Friday a ground-breaking for Utah’s first net-zero community, Living Zenith, took place in Liberty Park.
“I got tired of being the problem,” said Mitchell Spence of Redfish Builders and developer of Living Zenith.
The problem, Utah’s air pollution, and part of that is how Spence used to build homes. “The waste that happens, and the type of homes that are built per code, are not efficient homes,” said Spence.
After years of fighting off illness, Spence started investigating and found our buildings and homes contribute to 39% of Utah’s bad air problem. “Now that I know what I know I can’t look back.”
So Spence and his company, Redfish Builders, decided to be part of the solution. The Living Zenith community will consist of five net-zero homes; homes that demand less energy and emit less pollution.
“The houses were poured on foam,” explained Spence. “There’s three inches of foam under the footings and under the foundation.” A thermal break from the home and the ground that will be continued up the walls and into the attic creating a thermos-like effect.
“You’re not fighting with the ground temperature and you’re not fighting with the outside forces,” explained Spence.
There will be no gas in the home. It will be purely electric and powered by the sun.
“To make this a net-zero home you have to have a net zero lifestyle,” said Spence.
We have to be willing to use less, to conserve more.”
Spence admits building these energy-efficient homes costs about 30% more than a traditional build; a cost that right now he’ll have to shoulder. “At some point we have to make a sacrifice. If we’re building for the community, like we say we are, we have to put our money where our mouth is.”
But if demand goes up, cost will go down and soon we could be seeing more net-zero home builds all across the state.
The first Living Zenith home is expected in November of this year. For more information log on to: http://livingzenith.com/